Cabaret Festival Review: Don Juan

A perfect tonic for the winter blues, laughter guaranteed.


Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre

Reviewed 10 June 2022

Led by artistic director Leo Gene Peters, A Slightly Isolated Dog is a Aotearoa/NZ company who combine a myriad aspects of theatre/cabaret into a terrific performance. In costume and character, the cast greeted the audience in the foyer, telling everyone how fabulous we all looked, and working to break down barriers between performers and audience. Before telling the story of the famous lover, the actors introduce themselves as ‘very famous and very French’, neither is true but A Slightly Isolated Dog do deserve to be famous and they have toured this show in NZ, Ireland, Scotland and England.

Don Juan is a wild ride of a show, combining physical theatre, comedy, ventriloquism, some truly fabulous singing and quite a lot of audience participation. Normally audience participation would make me cringe, as I watch someone foolish enough to sit in the front row, dragged up on stage to be the butt of the joke. Not so with this show, as the team from A Slightly Isolated Dog use their obvious skills and genuine care to bring on willing audience members, to whom they have chatted before the show starts, into the performance, and as they say in all good sitcom write ups, hilarity ensues.

The trust developed between performers and audience plus the sense of genuine fun the actors create, leads the audience to want to be part of this collective experience. Without spoilers, members of the audience happily leapt at the chance to be a tree, the brother of a betrayed nun and even a magical speaking statue.

As it consists of so many well crafted elements, it is difficult to categorise Don Juan. It is skilful physical theatre, a musical, combined with perfectly timed comedy with lashings of silliness and joy. Technically the production is spot on with excellent use of sound, effects and a giant sheet of black plastic, which with audience members happy to suspend disbelief,  you will be convinced is a rough sea.

Reviewed by Jan and Alison Kershaw

Venue: Space Theatre
Season:  June 10, Sat June 11 at 9pm, Sun June 12 at 8.30pm
Duration:  60 mins
Tickets:  $54, $49 Conc $44

Rating out of 5: 5

Photo Credit: Claudio Raschella


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